Representatives of the Pessamit Innu First Nation at a public hearing in New Hampshire on July 20, 2017. Photo: Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People

Pessamit Innu cross Canadian border to fight power line in New Hampshire

The Pessamit Innu First Nation is in the United States to express its strong opposition to a proposed power line.

Pessamit Innu leaders and citizens are attending public hearings for the Northern Pass project in New Hampshire. They also have been meeting with environmental groups and other opponents throughout New England to explain why the 192-mile power line affects their homelands back in Quebec, Canada.

"Our action outside of Canada's borders aims to change the course of history or, at least, to make New Englanders aware that 29 percent of the electricity that Hydro-Quebec intends to sell was acquired in an immoral and illegal manner, to the detriment of Pessamit," the First Nation said in a statement that was delivered to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, the Associated Press reported.

Northern Pass depends on hydroelectricity generated by a network of dams, power stations and reservoirs operate by Hydro-Quebec, a public utility. Some of those facilities are located on Pessamit's aboriginal territory but the First Nation wasn't given a say in the review or approval process.

Pessamit also contends the operations have decimated salmon runs and traditional hunting grounds throughout the province. Hydro-Quebec disputes the claims, New Hampshire Public Radio reported.

Pessamit sought to intervene in New Hampshire's review process for Northern Pass but was denied in January. The decision said the First Nation failed to demonstrate how the project impacts its rights back in Canada.

"The Pessamit have no greater interest in the outcome of this proceeding than any other member of the general public," the January 5 decision stated. The site evaluation committee also said the Pessamit are "not a recognized tribal entity in New Hampshire."

Read More on the Story:
Canadian tribe opposes proposed powerline project in US (AP 7/20)
Indigenous Community Airs Long-Standing Grievances at Northern Pass Hearing (New Hampshire Public Radio 7/20)

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